You had a feeling it was coming sooner or later. Today the unofficial word came from the folks on Park Ave in NYC that they have wrapped the investigation into the Jameis Winston incident involving a uber female driver in 2016 and the news is not good for Bucs fans.
The league is expected to announce as early as tomorrow that Winston will be suspended for three games beginning with the opener in New Orleans on Sept 9th. Winston will also miss the 2018 home opener against the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles, and the Monday Night game on Sept 23rd against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
There is a lot of pressure on everyone from Jason Licht to Dirk Koetter to turn things around this season after a dismal and underachieving 5-11 season in 2017. This news of the Winston suspension does not make things any easier for the Bucs.
Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start in those three games as the Bucs will have to start the season without their leader and one of their best players.
Let me digress for a minute. The NFL has been known to play God, judge and jury in numerous cases similar to the Winston case over the years. Last season Ezekiel Elliott the Dallas RB was suspended for six games for an alleged domestic violence incident with his girlfriend. Keep in mind Elliott was investigated and charges were dropped by our legal system. Elliott was never charged with anything and yet was suspended for six games due to a case of he said she said.
Rueben Foster the San Francisco LB was accused of choking his girlfriend and beating her up in February. He denied the charges. On the day of the hearing his girlfriend now an ex-girlfriend said that she had gotten in a fight with another woman and that was the cause of the injuries. She told Foster that if he broke up with her she would tell the authorities that he beat her up.
Foster has since been exonerated but was looking at losing his livelihood for a minute there because of these accusations. That is the way the NFL does business these days. It is the politically correct thing to do.
When here-say can determine your livelihood and due process is not given that is a problem. When you are exonerated by the judicial system and no charges are filed and you are still suspended that is a problem.
The NFL is indicating that Winston is being suspended for not reporting the incident in a timely manner. The incident allegedly occurred in February of 2016 after his rookie season and Winston did not report the incident or question anyone about what his accuser was saying until last November.
And so the Bucs and Jameis Winston will have to deal with it. They will no doubt appeal the suspension, but at the end of the day Winston will still serve a suspension. It could be reduced to two games but I doubt it.
This could leave the Bucs in a big hole too big to dig out of before the quarter mark of the season has been reached. There are still many twists and turns to come in this story. It is by no means finished. Stay tuned.